Edna Pontellier, from Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, and Ethan Frome, from Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome, both wished to elevate from the societies they lived in and hated. They each come from separate backgrounds that are immensely different. Edna is from the high class, privileged Creole society. Ethan is a poor farmer from Massachusetts. To elevate from society and escape their emotional prisons, they try overcome obstacles such as outcast risk, societal responsibility, and guilt.
Edna believes that she accidentally got married because she accepted the traditional path. She married Leonce due to the fact that he was financially sound and in love with her. After a summer in Grand Isles she starts to realize the fault in the marriage. Edna does not care for her children as the other Creole mothers do; she would not give herself and her sanity for her children. Inversely, Adele Ratignolle, Edna’s friend, loves her children like nothing else and, if they were in trouble or needed her, she would give anything to protect them even herself and her happiness. In Creole society divorces are almost unheard of; so Edna cannot just up and leave her husband for Robert, whom she fell in love with after spending all her time with him at Grand Isles.
Edna followed the Creole way like a lifeless robot, which is what the other Creole women did; conform as the others. Edna changed. She stopped receiving callers in Tuesdays, went and did what she wanted, and, later, removed herself from her family’s home and got her own place.
“The pigeon-house pleased her. It at once assumed the intimate character of a home, while she herself invested it with a charm which it reflected like a warm glow. There was with her a feeling of having descended in the social scale, with a corresponding sense of having risen in the spiritual. Every step which she took toward relieving herself from obligations added to her strength and expansion as an individual.... [continues]
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